Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization

"Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization"

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Monday, February 19, 2007

The Sacred Liturgy Nos. 16-19

16. The Liturgy of the Eucharist
“Let us turn towards the Lord God and Father Almighty, and with a pure heart let us give him abundant thanks as well as our littleness will allow.”
These words from the end of a homily by Saint Augustine express the spirit of the liturgy as the Mass transitions from Liturgy of the Word to Liturgy of the Eucharist, the second half of the Mass. The faithful gathered for worship (the members of the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ) and the priest (who stands in the person of Christ the Head of the Body) together turn toward the Lord to give thanks to God (“Eucharist” is from a Greek word meaning “thanksgiving”). Despite our littleness, Christ who is present in the proclamation of His Word becomes substantially present in his Body and Blood in the Eucharist, under the appearances of bread and wine.
At the Last Supper, Jesus gave His Body and Blood to the Apostles, and so instituted the Sacrament of the Eucharist. The Church, through the ministry of the priest, who represents Christ, carries out in every Mass what Jesus Himself did and gave to the Apostles.
GIRM 72, U.M. Lang Turning Towards the Lord

17. The Liturgy of the Eucharist
The actions of the Liturgy of the Eucharist correspond to the actions of Jesus at the Last Supper. As Jesus took bread and wine into His hands, so at the Preparation of the Altar and Gifts, bread and wine are brought to the Altar and offered by the priest. As Jesus gave thanks to the Father, so the priest prays the Eucharistic Prayer, the very name of which means “thanksgiving” (eucharistia in Greek). As Jesus broke the bread and shared the bread and cup with His disciples, so we come to the Altar during the Communion Rite to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus.
The Liturgy of the Eucharist begins with the preparation of the Altar and all that is necessary for the offering of the Eucharistic Sacrifice: the Sacramentary (book of prayers), chalice and paten, and linens.
The Gifts of bread and wine are brought forward by the people. They are offered by the priest, and may be incensed, as a symbol of the Church’s prayer and offering ascending to God.
The priest washes his hands as an expression of his desire for interior purification.
GIRM 72-76

18. The Liturgy of the Eucharist
The Eucharistic Prayer is the center and summit of the entire celebration of the Mass. It is a prayer of thanksgiving and sanctification: thanksgiving for God’s gracious work throughout the history of the world, especially for sending His Son, who died and rose for our salvation, and gives us Himself as our spiritual food and drink, and sanctification of bread and wine, which, by the power of the Holy Spirit, become the Body and Blood of Jesus.
The priest celebrant prays this prayer in the name of the entire community. He prays to God the Father, through Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit.
This greatest of all prayers demands that the faithful listen to it with attentiveness, reverence, and in silence. As the priest prays in the name of all, so all the faithful join their prayers to those of the priest. As the priest offers the Eucharistic Sacrifice, the faithful offer a sacrifice of their lives to the Lord.
The Sacramentary contains several options for the priest for the Eucharistic Prayer: four prayers which may be used at any Mass, two for Masses of Reconciliation (e.g. during Lent, a penitential season), and three for Masses with Children.

19. The Liturgy of the Eucharist
The various Eucharistic Prayers all contain the same essential elements.
1. Thanksgiving: expressed especially in the Preface, in which the priest, in the name of all, gives thanks to God. The words of the Preface correspond to the season or feast. Listening to the Preface carefully brings our minds and hearts in tune with the liturgical season or event.
2. Acclamation: the clergy and people join in the Sanctus, the song of the angels: “Holy Holy Holy…”
3. Epiclesis: the priest holds his hands over the bread and wine and calls down the Holy Spirit to sanctify the gifts.
4. Institution and Consecration: the priest takes bread and wine as Jesus did, and says the words of Jesus. At that moment the bread and wine become Jesus’ Body and Blood.
5. Anamnesis: remembering the events of the life of Jesus, especially His Passion, death, and Resurrection.
6. Offering: as the priest offers the Eucharistic Sacrifice, we offer ourselves to God.
7. Intercession: we pray for the pope, bishop, the whole Church, and the faithful departed.
8. Doxology: final acclamation in praise of God (“Through him, with Him in Him…”) to which the people respond “Amen.”

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